Baby name story: Louis Francis

The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, which commemorated the Louisiana Purchase, included “anthropological exhibits” — essentially, various groups of indigenous people put on display. These exhibits included Apaches, “Eskimos” (Tlingits), African Pygmies, and the Ainu of Japan.

One particularly popular exhibit was the 47-acre Philippine Exposition, which featured over 1,000 Filipinos from at least 10 different ethnic groups. (The fair was held soon after the Philippines had become an unincorporated territory of the U.S. following the Philippine-American War* (1899-1902), which itself followed the Spanish-American War.)

On July 6, a Filipino baby boy was born at the Philippine Exposition. When he was christened several weeks later, David R. Francis — the president of the fair (and the former governor of Missouri) — acted as godfather.

The boy’s full name? Louis Francis Silva, first and middle names “in honor of St. Louis and President Francis,” respectively.


Image: Philippine Exposition pamphlet

*The military governor of the Philippines from from 1901 to 1902 was Adna Romanza Chaffee, Sr. — the father of Adna Romanza Chaffee, Jr., after whom Fort Chaffee was named.

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